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The best mobile apps for watching video

While it's easy to stream videos on your phone using YouTube, for example, there are plenty of mobile apps for viewing, recording, editing, and sharing video with friends that you may not have thought of.


Mobile video FAQs

  • What are the different kinds of mobile video players?
    Which video player apps you use will largely depend on the videos you want to watch. If you're looking for user-generated video, for example, you'll want to start with the YouTube app ( Android and iOS). News? Try the CNN (Android and iOS) or CBS News (Android and iOS) app. Live gaming playthrough? Grab Twitch (Android and iOS). For live streams of events as routine as a snowy bus ride or as historic as a Senate vote, try Periscope (Android and iOS) and Facebook Live (Android and iOS). Cable-cutters can download apps for their favored services too, from Hulu (Android and iOS) to Roku (Android and iOS). For video stored on your phone, your stock video player should be up to the task. Troublesome videos beg for an app like the VLC media player (Android and iOS), which can handle multiple formats.
  • How can I create and share video?
    For a polished video, look for an editing app that lets you work with clips and photos; organize and trim the clips, add music, transitions, effects, and titles; and then share through your favorite social service. If it seems like too much work, you can find apps that grab your video assets and automatically assemble a video for you. For something a bit more spontaneous, apps such as Snapchat ( Android and iOS) and Instagram (Android and iOS) let you capture short video clips and then share moments of your day with friends.
  • Can I record what's on my screen?
    For recording what's on your screen -- say, you want to capture the playthrough of a game -- look to a screen-recording app. You can capture your entire screen or a portion of it and pick quality settings. Some, such as Google's Play Games app ( Android), includes built-in screen recording tools for capturing gameplay.

Best mobile video apps

YouTube

YouTube

If you want to watch user-generated video, you want YouTube.

Hulu

Hulu

For cable-cutters, Hulu lets you watch current TV shows and watch movies.

Snapchat

Snapchat

With Snapchat, create and share short, temporary videos with friends.

Periscope

Periscope

Periscope lets you watch live events as well as live stream your own.

Clifford Colby follows the Mac and Android markets for Download.com. He's been an editor at Peachpit Press and a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWeek, MacUser, and Corporate Computing.